The One Subject Most Americans Won’t Talk About
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The Fiscal Times
February 20, 2014

Americans would rather have a discussion about religion, politics, or even death, than talk about their personal finances, according to a study released today by Wells Fargo.

When asked about the chat topics they find challenging, 44 percent of those surveyed cited personal finances, beating out death (38 percent), politics (35 percent), and religion (35 percent). About one in five people surveyed ranked cited taxes or personal health as the most difficult.

“It’s not surprising that people don’t want to talk about money, investments, tax strategies, or even how much to put aside for a child’s education,” Karen Wimbish, Wells Fargo Retail Retirement Director said in a statement. “But not spending time today to think about the future can be costly in the long run.”

Related: The No-Fear Guide to Financial Planning in 2014

Women in particular have a hard time talking about money. Half of women polled said they found such conversations difficult, compared to just 38 percent of men. That could be because they feel less confident in their financial knowledge: 45 percent of women grade their own financial literacy a ‘C’ or lower, compared to just 35 percent of men.

Despite their unwillingness to discuss money, Americans cite it as one of their greatest concerns. Nearly 40 percent reported that money represents the biggest stress in their life, and a third report losing sleep worrying about money.

Even so, 42 percent of those surveyed said they lacked a detailed investment or financial plan, or even a budget to help manage their spending.

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Life + Money Editor Beth Braverman covers all things personal finance. Formerly a senior reporter and social media editor at MONEY magazine, she’s also held gigs as a newspaper reporter and trade magazine editor.